Movie crew’s thanks to town

Michael and Caroline Davison pictured in their Fens butchers shop.
Michael and Caroline Davison pictured in their Fens butchers shop.

A MOVIE crew has said a massive thank you for the welcome they have received in Hartlepool.

Zeitgeist Films have been shooting scenes for the new film Orthodox in and around the town.

Producer Daisy Allsop told the Hartlepool Mail: “We were going to shoot mainly in Newcastle but when the location manager started looking round, they found some really quite unique locations in Hartlepool.

“The council there were really keen to promote filming in Hartlepool and they bent over backwards to make it a film friendly town. They gave us all the access we needed.

“Once we found out how helpful they were bring, we transferred a lot of what we were going to do in Newcastle to Hartlepool.”

The crew and its stars including Stephen Graham and Christopher Fairbank headed to locations including the Borough Hall and an empty house on the Headland, the Athenaeum Club in Church Street, and the Business Centre in Scarborough Street.

The crew and some of the cast also called into Davidson’s family butchers, in Catcote Road, where star of the show Graham was shown how to cut meat by butcher Michael Davidson.

Michael, 45, said: “I showed him the basics, there was nothing too difficult!

“He was a really nice gentleman, the crew were very good and there was a lot of banter flying around. There was a lot of interest from our customers and passers-by, it was a pleasure to be involved with it and we’re looking forward to seeing the film.”

Daisy said some people heard about a pub scene being shot at the Borough Hall and even came down to volunteer as extras.

Harland Deer, the marketing assistant in the tourism section of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “It is part of our ongoing drive to promote filming in the town.

“We signed up to a film-friendly partnership. It is an initiative run by Northern Film and Media and it means that the skills people learn stay within the region instead of disappearing to the capital.

“We find that location managers are always appreciative of what they find in Hartlepool, and we want to see more of that.”

The film has been written by and being directed by David Leon and stems from an original short film of the same name.

Stephen Graham is famous for his roles in This Is England and Boardwalk Empire, while Christopher Fairbank starred in Fifth Element, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

The film centres on a character called Benjamin, a man persecuted for his commitment to the Orthodox Jewish faith. He  is pushed towards the fringe of the religious community and takes up boxing as a means of self-defence.

But he quickly finds himself out of his depth in a criminal underworld.

The film is due to be released later this year.